Secrets of the Great Pyramid

On Tuesday, Sept 17th, 2002, National Geographic and other parties involved (cited below) staged a Live TV program to look though the 'door'. A hole large enough for a robot to thrust a small camera boom through was drilled before the program aired. It seems like Zahi Wahass has gone from a vehment objector to this inquiry to the one taking credit for it!

Check out The Upuaut Project web site for information on the first attempt at sending a robot up the passage off the queen's chamber.

On this page:

The Door in the Dark article, Sunday Telegraph, 1-1-95.

USENET articles pertaining to the lack of action about the so-called door.

A UPI article from 1986 about additional dens found in the GP.

A Daily Mail article about rumors of the discovery of three chambers in the Great Pyramid.

April 23, 1998. More from Rudolf GatenBrink about the truth of the situation.

Links to more reading.

"Door into the Dark"

This article is taken from The Sunday Telegraph 1st January 1995.
©The Sunday Telegraph.

The Great Pyramid is the last remaining wonder of the ancient world. Yet this great monument built for King Cheops around 4500 years ago, which now lends its dignity to the Cairo slums, is as enigmatic as it ever was. The more the mechanics of the building are revealed, the more mysterious its purpose becomes. Two years ago an astonished world learned of the possible existence of a hidden chamber at the end of a sloping shaft that leads from the lower of the Great Pyramid's two large chambers.

After a steady climb of 65 metres from the heart of the pyramid, the small 8 inch square shaft - originally believed to be for ventilation, now generally accepted as a "corridor" enabling the soul of the dead pharaoh to ascend to the heavens - comes to an abrupt halt in front of a limestone slab. This is adorned with 2 copper handles, whose position indicates an upward-sliding movement like a portcullis. This was a sensational discovery.

The Great Pyramid's four shafts have been known since 1872, but they are found in no other pyramid. Two, extending from the upper, or "Kings Chamber" exit into open air, but the lower two, from the "Queens Chamber" , disappear within, and have sparked intense curiosity about where they lead to.

Stories of a concealed chamber in the Great Pyramid had circulated since the Middle Ages, but nothing had been found here bar 3 small relics discovered 100 years ago. Inevitably, speculation in the press about what could lie behind the slab ran riot, ranging from untold, Tut. style treasure (highly unlikely) to a simple "ka" statue representing the king's sprit (possible). But most surprising was the verdict of the Head of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, under whose auspices the discovery was made. Behind the "door", Rainer Stadelmann asserted firmly, lay nothing at all. Just a block of limestone; simply a tidying up of an abandoned shaft.

Since the only sure counter to speculation is fact, the solution would surely have been to press on - an the means existed to do exactly that. Rudolf Gantenbrink, the engineer whose purpose built UPUAT-2 robot made the discovery, stated that with minimal adjustments, the robot could manoeuvre a fibre-optic camera through the triangular hole at the base of the "door/slab". Whatever lay behind it - whether sensation of the century or damp squib - the impact of its exposure would be enormous. Nothing simpler, you might think. But nothing happened. The "door" was discovered on 22nd March 1993. A week later, says Gantenbrink, he was told to pack his robot and go.

Last week a spokesman for the German Archaeological Institute denied that there was any mystery about this. "The project was finished. The shafts had been explored and there was nothing further to do. The blocking stone that was found at the end of the shaft is very normal. All these shafts were originally blocked. It is the normal construction. It is not possible to open the blocking; the Egyptians would never allow it."

But this does not tally with known facts. Parallels with other shafts cannot be made, as there is no precedent. The end of the second shaft from the Queen's Chamber has not yet been reached - the robot having revealed, and been obstructed by, two sharp bends.

What is even stranger, though, is that after the "discovery" of the "door", all further investigation shafts stopped at this cliff-hanger stage, and has not been resumed. The original reason for the German engineering team being there was to clear the shafts in the Great Pyramid to improve air flow. Humidity in the King's Chamber was running at 90 per cent, and the limestone walls were wet with moisture exhaled by crowds of tourists. Rudolf Gantenbrink's robotics experience in both nuclear plants and undersea exploration, tied in with his amateur fascination with the pyramids, made him the perfect choice for the job.

Fans were duly installed, and the humidity level rapidly fell. But for reasons that are still not entirely clear, attention shifted to the Queen's Chamber, even though it's shafts were known to have no exit. By now Gantenbrink was fascinated by the Great Pyramid's construction and how the pyramid-builders' minds worked. But the though-processes of present-day Egyptologists were on a different plane, involving - as they appeared to - international rivalry and vested interests more familiar to thriller writers than scientists.

But what evidence is there to back the theory that some concealed chamber does indeed lie behind the "door" ? According to Gantenbrink there are 12 points.

As might be expected from an engineer, historical precedent or theory play little part. What Gantenbrink focuses on are changes, intentional or accidental, in the physical appearance of the shaft as it nears the "door" - evidence to a construction engineer seemingly as clear as if it were enshrined on a blueprint.

The most important of these is the change from rough-hewn (yellow) limestone stone walls in the rest of the shaft to the highly polished white limestone of the last five metres. This stone is found nowhere else in the 180 metres of shafts so far explored - but it suggests an imminent upgrading to something grander, rather than abandonment, as some Egyptologists would have it. Then there is the evidence of structural damage (found nowhere else in any of the shafts), suggesting internal stress in the vicinity - a cavity, possibly - and, as if to confirm this, the presence of stress-reliving construction techniques (blocks laid vertically rather than horizontally) in the walls of the passage near the door.

The "door" also appears free of mortar, while all the joints between the blocks forming the shaft are mortared. And Gantenbrink lists eight further points of physical evidence, gathered from months of analysis of footage that his robot filmed within the four shafts.

"I take an absolute neutral position. It is a scientific process, and there is no need whatsoever to answer questions with speculation when these questions could be answered much more easily by continuing the research. Yet because of a stupid feud between what I call believers and non-believers, I am condemned as someone who is speculating. But I am not. I am just stating the facts. We have a device [ultrasonic] that would discover if there is a cavity behind the slab. It is a nonsensical to make theories when we have the tools to discover the facts."

The problem, according to Gantenbrink, is that he is not an Egyptologist; he is simply a hired technician. By definition, therefore, his views have no currency. Worse, he now feels that he has been bracketed with last years best-selling pyramid watcher Robert Bauval whose maverick views on pyramids, pharaohs and the blinkered approach of certain Egyptologists to their sacrosanct subject have made him persona non grata in the eye of the archaeological establishment.

But anyone who has read Bauval's populist investigation into the secrets of the Great Pyramid would recognise this as a red herring. The Orion Mystery is an exploration of a quite separate issue (whether the religion of the pharaohs was sun or start based) and has nothing to do with concealed chambers. Gantenbrink's only contribution to Bauval's theory was revised calculations of the angles of the shafts.

Gantenbrink is convinced that the Bauval connection has something to do with his excommunication and is anxious to distance himself. But the stonewalling began long before "The Orion Mystery" was published last year. Incredibly, at the end of March 1993, a full week after the discovery, not a word had been said to the press. Even stranger was the fact that the discovery appeared to coincide with the sacking of the director of the Giza Plateau site, Dr Zahi Hawass - though at the time rumours suggested that a breach of security following a visit by Colonel Gaddafi was the trigger.

But in Gantenbrink's eyes, whatever the reason for Hawass's sudden departure, he himself was now the victim of a political feud. "I was scheduled to meet the Minister of Culture about the discovery, but it never happened. A press conference was scheduled. It never happened." Dismayed and frustrated, Gantenbrink decided to go it alone, and using British contacts broke the story in The Daily Telegraph on the 7th of April 1993, and thence across the world.

Protocol concerning the pyramids is rigid, and central to this is strict control of the release of information to the media. The pyramids are Egypt's single most important national resource as both cultural icon and foreign currency earner. Tourist, scientist or film-maker, everybody pays. A scientific licence (a pre-requisite) is contingent on a number of factors, firstly that all press announcements go through official Egyptian channels, and secondly that no commercial use is made of the research. (Commercial licences are much more expensive and difficult to obtain.) Clearly by breaking the story Gantenbrink had broken the first rule. It may also be that, in subsequently making available the video footage shot ostensibly for scientific research, he was deemed to have flouted the second, too.

The Egyptian press were at sixes and sevens. First they expostulated that Gantenbrink's robot could not have entered the shafts. "German scientist's claim a hoax" was the headline in the English-language Egyptian Gazette of April 20, 1993. A week later, however, they changed their tune, and hailed a major find.

But the damage as far as Gentenbrink was concerned was done. The German's request for a licence to re-investigate the other shaft leading from the Queen's Chamber, the northern one with the sharp bends, which his modified robot could now successfully navigate - and which he believed would throw crucial light on the "door" controversy - was refused by the Egyptian authorities.

In an even more bizarre twist to the tale, two months later the man responsible for sacking Dr Hawass at the time of the discovery of the slab, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Bakr, was himself dismissed. But unlike Dr Hawass, he did not go quietly. In an interview with Egypt's daily newspaper Al-Ahram, Dr Bakr said he had been brought down by an official "mafia" whose aim was to impede the archaeological work for their own purposes. He also claimed that the Giza Plateau had suffered widespread thefts of antiquities and financial malpractice's. "I wanted these practices reported to the prosecution authorities but my request was refused"

Two weeks ago it seemed that some sort of a rapprochement between Rudolf Gantenbrink and the Egyptians had been achieved. From the Institute of French Engineers in Paris, Gantenbrink announced that he had offered the robot, currently housed at the British Museum, to the Egyptian Authorities. The exploration could now continue under Egyptian auspices, with an operator trained by Gantenbrink himself.

But as Gantenbrink made clear to The Sunday Telegraph last week, his announcement in Paris was less a statement of fact than a statement of faith. The offer to the Egyptians had been made back in June. A positive response to this diplomatic, and clearly personally painful, sacrifice was received in October, and Gantenbrink was preparing to go to Egypt once more.

In early November, however, came the unimaginable - a two line brush- off from Dr Bakr's successor as Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Abdul Nour El-Din: "Thanks for your offer to train the Egyptian technician.....Unfortunately we are very busy for the time being, therefore we will postpone the matter."

Gantenbrink now hopes that by making public is offer to the Egyptians, they will think again. "The search for the truth is too important to be ruined by a silly political game," he says. "My only hope is that they will soon reach the same conclusion."

USENET articles

5/1/96: This just in from sci.archaeology, Charlie Rigano :

I was in Egypt last week and had an opportunity to ask Zawni Hawass (sp), Director of the Giza area, about what was happening with the "door". He said he will not do business with the company that employed Gantenbrink and nothing will happen in May. Instead he has been discussing further exploration with a Canadian company. He said in Oct 96, actually he said Oct 15, the Canadian company will use a fiber optic cable to go under the "door" and see what is on the other side. The operation is simple and very fast. Will be over in 15 minutes he said.


Hawass stated publicly a few months ago that Egypt would look under the door in March, 1998!

Now he has said that in April... there will be an unveiling of sorts. Here is what Gatenbrink has said of that:

Date: Tue, 03 Mar 1998
From: Rudolf Gantenbrink 
Newsgroups: alt.archaeology,sci.archaeology
Subject: Re: Kheops's Pyramid: Has the door been opened yet?

Philip King wrote:

> I read somewhere (I searched on 'Egyptology' on Altavista) that a guard at
> the site had leaked information about a team (..from Canada?)

This company is now bankrupted. They had made a fruitless test, pushing up
some modified fishing rods.  It needs some more advanced techniques (which
is very expensive) to go 55 meters up the shafts.

> getting a
> fibre optic camera through a tiny aperture in the door

There is no tiny aperture in the "door", just a broken edge and a slight gap
about 5 to 8 mm at the floor. The fibre optic procedure (repeatedly reported
by the media) is pure nonsense, invented from people who have no idea, what
they are talking about.  Bringing up a fibre optic there is a 200 000 dollar
job, that will most likely end up with no result.

> and revealing a
> small room or chamber with a statue of a black male standing opposite a
> passage way leading off.  That's all.  No substantiation so its just
> hearsay unless anyone else knows better.

Why are you happy with stupid rumours. Here is the latest:

Zahi Hawass gave a interview on Art Bell Radio Show.
It can be heard on line at:
  Click the date 1/14/98


  Dr. Hawass says amongst other things (word by word):

  1.  "we will close the pyramid for six month"

  2.  "tree important things is going to be investigated"

  3.  "it is the places that everyone wonder about"

  4.  "the second important thing is this door, or stone that has been found
  by Gantenbrink inside the pyramid, with two copper handles. We are in the
  process now of trying to find out, what is behind this stone or this door"

  5.  "I would like to say about this shafts, that we are going - I hope
  before May - we are going to do it, and you know there is new techniques
  has been found now, that in fife minutes you can find - you can take a
  photograph - of what's behind this door"

  6. "..... and therefore, that door - or that stone, that has been found
  - we will know - we will know - about  what's behind it - we hope before
  May of this year".

More from Rudolf Gatenbrink

Subject: Official Statement by Rudolf Gantenbrink
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 08:27:34 GMT
Newsgroup: sci.archaeology
Organization: University College London

Rudolf has this afternoon asked me to post the following statement.


In a recent meeting between Dr. Zahi Hawass and myself in Cairo, I
explained to Dr. Hawass several details related to the so called "air
shafts" inside the Cheops Pyramid.

One of the issues discussed with Dr. Hawass was reported on a interview

I left the above exactly as written - no change made to embed the URL --jm


Hawass: We are not discovering anything in the Great Pyramid, there is
nothing really remaining to be discovered inside. Even though we were
prepared to investigate the so-called "door" inside the pyramid that was
found by Gantenbrink.

We found that in Gantenbrink's report when he recently visited me,
looking more closely at the video tape, we see that there really is no
crack or an open area that we can send a robot. We found that there is
no shaft or small area, underneath this stone to send a small robot or
anything, this means that we are not going to be able to investigate and
see what's behind it.

Guardian: There's no crack on the bottom of the slab found by the robot
at the end of the shaft that would allow even a small camera?

Dr. Hawass: There's no crack on the bottom, exactly. This is what the
media created and I never received a proper  report from Gantenbrink,
because of the problems that we had with him. But when I met him last
week and when he showed me in the videos here what it looks like in
there, we did not really see any crack in the fitting. And therefore,
it's very difficult to decide to do anything further with this.


This interview has, and might further lead to misunderstandings.
For this reason I would like to clarify the following.

I had a meeting with Dr. Hawass in March of this year in Cairo.
The reason for this meeting was to inform Dr. Hawass personally about
additional - still unpublished - facts and observations made during my
work in 1992 / 1993 on the so called air shafts inside the Cheops

In this meeting I have pointed out, that a further investigation of the
closure stone at the end of the southern lower shaft by means of a fibre
optic, has little chance to achieve the expected results.

This is due to the tremendous costs, and the poor results (due to light
source limitations) that can be expected in the worst case.
The "fibre optic" procedure had never been suggested by myself, and is
therefore indeed a true media creation.

Nevertheless, in that meeting I have informed Dr. Hawass equally about
far better high tech methods for a possible continuation of the

I do not at all agree with Dr. Hawass statement (that was probable
intended differently)  "that there is nothing really remaining to be
discovered inside". It is, and remains a fact, that only further
research will allow to draw this conclusion.

I am convinced that Dr. Hawass - especially after our meeting - also
sees the immediate need to solve the questions that my work from 1992 /
1993 has raised.

Rudolf Gantenbrink

Munich April 1998

Statement ends.

Doug Weller

Dens found in Pyramid

I came across a newsclip in my files from the Saturday before Pentecost, 1986 it says:

Dens found in Pyramid

CAIRO, Egypt (UPI) -- Archeaologists discovered several hidden compartments inside the Great Pyramids at Giza and said they might unravel some of the mysteries shrouding its construction some 4,500 years ago, the chairman of Egypt's Antiquities Department said Saturday.

Ahmed Kadry said each compartment, or chamber, inside the Pyramid of the Pharaoh Cheops, is about 2 yards long, 2 yards wide and 2 yards high.

The compartments might have been used to store burial furniture, he said. Similar compartments were found inside other pyramids, but this is the first time they were found inside Cheop's pyramid, he said.

Cheops, or Khufu, was the second king of the fourth dynasty in 2650 B.C. The Greek historian Heredotus wrote that Cheops was an oppressor who enslaved his people in order to build the pyramid, but ancient Egyptian records provide no evidence to support this story. So -- where are these compartments located in the pyramid? --jm




British researchers claim the "discovery of the century" has been made at the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The team believes the Egyptian authorities are carrying out secret excavations on a tunnel which may lead to three previously unknown chambers.

They say they have taken video footage inside the pyramid which backs up their claim.

The day after they did their filming, the authorities closed the pyramid for an eight-month "renovation project". The team claims this is simply a cover for the excavation." It is the discovery of the century" Simon Cox, one of the researchers said yesterday. "This find could solve the greatest mystery of all time. The scale of it is just amazing.

"We have been told by three independent sources that the tunnel leads to three new chambers. Who knows what is inside them. It could be treasure troves full of gold coins or just empty rooms". Mr Cox, 32, studied Egyptology at University College London, found evidence of the tunnel on April 1 during one of his regular monthly visits to the pyramids.

With researchers Clive Prince, 38, and Lynn Picknett, 51, he came across a metal grille in a wall inside the antechamber leading to the King's Chamber. "I'd never seen it before," explained Mr Cox "The grille was rusty but the mortar holding it to the wall was new.

Shining their torches inside the 3.6ft by 2.5ft gap, they saw a tunnel high enough to stand up in with two stairs leading up. Electric cables ran along the ceiling, indicating that lighting or machinery was being used. Because filming is forbidden the team used a hidden video camera to record their find.

Sources have since told them workers found the tunnel using sonar equipment then discovered the three new chambers. "It is no coincidence the pyramid has closed down now," said Mr Cox. It gives them an opportunity to explore theses new areas without anyone knowing."

Work on the Great Pyramid is kept low profile to avoid experts descending from around the world and treasure hunters trying to steal artefacts.

The Great Pyramid, is the largest of the structures, was built for Pharaoh Khufu 4,500 years ago. It stands 480ft high and took 4,000 men 30 years to build.

Previously, the only features documented were the Subterranean Chamber, King's Chamber and Queen's Chamber. Speculation has raged about hidden chambers, which may contain artefacts or even the lost treasures of the Pharaohs.

Four years ago, a German team used a miniature robot equipped with a camera to discover what appeared to be a stone door at the end of a passageway leading off the Queen's Chamber. It was believed this could be the entrance to a hidden chamber but Egypt refused all offers to fund a project to open the door.

"There are lots of rumours in Egypt but nobody can get inside the pyramid to verify it," said Mr Prince, who is writing a book about the mysteries of Egypt with Lynn Picknett. Three years ago, they co-wrote a book suggesting Leonardo da Vinci faked the Turin Shroud.

Experts remain unconvinced when told about the tunnel. Vivian Davies, Egyptologist at the British Museum, said: "It may be a ventilation shaft or some such thing. It is pure fantasy to think about chambers full of hidden treasure."

© Daily Mail, 1998.

Links to Additional Reading

Created By: john@timehaven•us
Updated: 20-Sept-2002